A report from a private researcher says August saw U.S. employers cut the smallest number of jobs in nearly a year.
The firm reports 298,000 non-government jobs were cut during August, which is considerably less than the prior month.
The ADP company gathers the information as it processes payrolls for millions of workers at thousands of U.S. companies.
A separate report from job placement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas says it saw the number of layoff announcements decline in August (by more than 20,000 to a bit more than 76,000), compared to the prior month.
Together, the two reports may indicate the battered U.S. job market is improving. A clearer picture of the job situation is expected on Friday when government experts report the latest unemployment figures.
Economists surveyed by the Bloomberg financial news service predict the unemployment rate will increase slightly from 9.4 percent, and the economy will have a net loss of more than 200,000 jobs.
Those lost jobs may be reflected in a separate report Wednesday on U.S. worker productivity. The amount that each worker produces each hour rose significantly in the second quarter. Analysts say those gains came largely from employers cutting jobs and squeezing more work out of their remaining employees.